On Sunday afternoon, the Chicago Fire will look to put themselves back on the right track after suffering a string of defeats, though doing so against a stubborn Nashville side won’t be easy, even at home.
This will be the second meeting between the teams this season. Back in July, Nashville SC made light work of beating Sunday’s hosts, winning by no less than five goals to one at Nissan Stadium.
Chicago Fire – Downward spiral
It was only in August when the Chicago Fire seemed to have been making forward strides, albeit smallish ones, but they’ve rapidly gone backwards over the last month or so. Since beating the New York Red Bulls away from home at the end of last month, they’ve lost four on the bounce. Worryingly, they’ve scored in only one of those defeats, scoring twice to no avail at home against the New England Revolution last time out.
Fortunately, the hosts have done their best work at home, though even there, they’ve been up and down, winning five, tying four and losing five, scoring a pleasing 20 goals and conceding 18 in the process. Hardly a model of consistency, nor will such facts strike fear into the hearts of the visitors.
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Nashville SC – Flying high
While the Fire come into this game feeling sorry for themselves, the visitors will be full of confidence. Nashville SC wasn’t off the winning trail for long, and losing to Toronto clearly didn’t have lasting effects on the Yellow machine. Last time out Gary Smith’s men scored five goals on route to trouncing Inter Miami away from home, so they really ought to fancy themselves here.
The visitors have now won four of their last five, while they’ve lost just one of their seven. They’ve been hard to beat all season, but now that they’ve added more goals to their game, the Nashville boys, on their day at least, are a match for any team in Major League Soccer.
Expert Pick #1 – Nashville to Win @+150
Given their current form, coupled with the current form of the hosts, who really have been struggling, the visitors look slightly too big in the early betting and thus a bet on them picking up yet another road win offers bettors some value.
After all, we’re talking about a visiting side that has the second-best away record in the Eastern Conference, as well as the second-best in terms of goals conceded away from home. Moreover, Nashville SC possesses the best expected goal difference on the road of all the teams in the east. They’re no pushovers, and if there is one thing that Gary Smith’s men can do, then it’s grind out a win.
Expert Pick #2 – Both Teams to Score – NO @+125
Again, at the current odds, a bet on both teams not to score must represent a slither of value. Nashville can keep things low-key, that’s for sure, with at least one team failing to score in six of their away games this term, while the Fire have scored in just one of their last four matches, while both teams have found the net in only one of Chicago’s last six Major League Soccer fixtures.
Expert Pick #3 – C.J. Sapong to Score @+190
Another bet that favours the visitors. C.J. Sapong may not have scored when his side hit five last time out, but he’s been ticking along nicely in front of goal in recent times, scoring on his penultimate start, a goal which took him to ten for the campaign. Moreover, he averages a pleasing 0.47 expected goals per 90 minutes, which underlines his threat, plus the fact that he’s getting off 2.95 shots per game bodes well ahead of a match against a Fire side that has given lots away of late.
While the Chicago Fire flounder, the Nashville SC train rolls on at full steam. The visitors have a knack of getting the job done and they come here in flying form. There’s plenty to suggest that the struggling hosts will come up short, just as there’s plenty pointing towards an away win being good value at the early odds.